New Delhi: Observing that air pollution in the national capital was "terrible", Delhi High Court Wednesday directed the Centre as well as an amicus curiae to prepare an action plan with suggestions to address the issue.
A bench of justices B D Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva said effects of air pollution in Delhi were clearly visible and no monitoring stations were required to show that it was "terrible".
"Particulate matter, benzene, sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) are the culprits. Now we need to find out why it is happening and the remedial measures that need to be taken," it said.
Justice Ahmed also said that while judges interested in an issue are not supposed to hear it, he was hearing the matter despite being a "victim of air pollution in Delhi".
The bench had taken suo motu cognizance of the issue after taking note of a report that said Delhi was the most polluted city in the world.
Perusing a report filed by amicus curiae Kailash Vasudev, the bench noted that particulate matter (PM) was the highest contributor to bad air quality in the city as it had far exceeded the standard levels of 100 micrograms per cubic meter of air.
In some areas, PM was found to be 400, the court noted and said the levels of the pollutant were "out of control".
The other "culprits", SO2, NO2, CO and benzene, a carcinogen, were products of vehicular and airplane emissions which were found to be high in areas like R K Puram, IGI Airport, Civil Lines, Karol Bagh and other congested areas.
It also asked whether Delhi Pollution Control Committee was concerned over the terrible pollution levels as even the Ridge area showed very bad air quality.
One of the reasons cited by the amicus for increase in air pollution in Delhi was the reduction of forest cover to 15 per cent and fewer notified green areas.
The court directed senior advocate Vasudev to prepare an action plan and place it before the bench on April 15 for its perusal.
A similar direction was issued to the Environment and Forests Ministry by the court, which also sought the presence of the Central Pollution Control Board as well as civic agencies on the next date to participate in the deliberations on improving air quality in the capital.
Apart from the PIL initiated by the court on its own, it also heard a petition filed by advocate Sudhir Mishra seeking directions to the Centre to take immediate steps to control rising air pollution in Delhi.
Mishra has also sought a direction to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to "formulate plans, policies and programmes to promote healthcare facilities by which the quality of human life and life expectancy is increased".
Air in Delhi is the most polluted in the world, according to World Health Organization (WHO) whose report contained results of outdoor air pollution monitored in almost 1,600 cities in 91 countries, the petition has said.